Most parents, especially those doing it for the first time, are worried about their children. There is no proportional relation with age and worry as worries about the child just take different aspects and never really dissipates. For those parents with newborn babies, as their representatives, it can get quite tricky to measure the right weight, levels of nutrition, time to walk and other indicators that determine the general health of the baby. Here are some statistics behind weighing babies and why these prove to be important reasons for keeping track of them as well.
What can determine if the baby is small or big and what makes them that way? There is a growth chart that indicates the normally expected measurements of babies. Large babies generally tend to see a correlation with their mothers and with the possibility that they could have been overweight themselves. Other factors that lead to a baby classified beyond normal measurements include the pregnancy lasting for more than 42 weeks, abnormalities in the fetal chromosomes, weight gain during the pregnancy, overstimulation of the growth of the fetus in the uterus, the mother’s ethnicity and cultural background, having given birth to other children, previous history of diabetes and sometimes that the child is a boy. The reasons for watching out for such babies are due to the fact that large babies are often more susceptible to abnormalities in metabolism such as issues related to low blood sugar and calcium, higher incident rate for traumatic birth injuries, higher hemoglobin levels and increase in the possibility of jaundice and various congenital issues. Large babies also have issues with feeding in the beginning and thus, they must be looked out for any symptoms relating to such abnormalities by both the pediatricians and their parents.
Small babies, on the other hand, are due to a handful of reasons such as the baby being born early (pre-term birth), parents are small themselves, the mother’s ethnicity or cultural background, any chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney diseases, fetal chromosomal abnormalities, malnutrition and issues of substance abuse during the term of the pregnancy. For such babies, it is important that there is regular monitoring of their temperature, glucose and hemoglobin levels before he is ready to go home. Pediatricians must regularly check the length, weight and height of the baby to make sure the baby is taken care of and well-nourished or address any feeding, developmental or medical issues that may be disturbing the baby’s intended growth rate.
Weight is often an important indicator of the baby’s health and this makes it important to track their weight loss and gain regularly. This should be done along with the measurement of the length and head circumference for an overall perspective. Breastfeeding is an important activity and there are certain criteria that this form of feeding should fit for the baby’s healthy growth, which the pediatrician will remind you of. How much the baby should weigh has a lot of factors and analysis behind it – your genetics play an important role in this matter as well as the health and nutrition levels of the mother. The fundal height measurement, which measures the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus in centimeters ensures the consistency of the baby’s growth.
Another important thing to know is that every baby’s first pattern of growth is to lose weight, especially for babies that are breastfed. The first few days can see a potential reduction of up to 10%, after which there should be a rise in weight. This procedure is important for them to lose the extra fluid, present from their birth. It becomes easy to find a reason to keep weighing your baby, but do it in a consistent manner and keep a record of the same. Up to six months of age, you can weigh your baby once a month – following this, once every two months till twelve months of age and once every three months after reaching one year. Clinics will only weigh your child if they think there is an issue with the child’s development, other than that they do not recommend frequent weighing of the child, either.
Do keep a record of the child’s height and weight as they grow – maybe include their previous illnesses and vaccinations which can serve as a useful record for your doctor as well; this step isn’t necessary but it eases the ever-present worry in most parents. Steady increases or decreases in weight are completely normal and is exactly how it should be as the child grows. Parents only have to worry about rapid increases and decreases and in the inconsistency of the manner of changes. Keep yourself from comparing your charts and graphs with those of other children – the levels and pace of development is understandably unique among different kids and it does not make sense to compare these like report cards. Schedule regular visits to the doctor and keep your book of records with you for easier explanation to the doctor – it is better that there is a consistent check of your child while in the primary stage of growth and development.
Within the first few weeks, and definitely within the first six months, your baby would have doubled their birth weight. After this, you can see the gain reducing in its proportion of increase. There will be occasional abnormalities with growth spurts, difficulty adjusting to the food or a higher rate of burning calories, but there is nothing too worrisome unless it develops an unhealthy pattern. Always remember that premature babies have different nutritional needs since they need that extra push and cajoling to grow at a faster rate than normal or larger babies, given the situation of their birth and their early arrival. The weight and health measurements for them will also be different so keep this in mind while you visit your pediatrician for the next check-up.